For over a decade, I’ve been purchasing Apple products based on my opinion that the hardware and software available out of Cupertino are better for me than anything out of Redmond or Mountain View. From computers to MP3 players and now smartphones and tablets, I’ve leaned towards Apple’s technology without reservation.
After owning an iPhone for three years, I decided that I would investigate the landscape of other smartphone hardware, and quickly gave up because I was personally unimpressed with the available software from other vendors. In fact, despite the dozens, or hundreds of options, I was rarely impressed on the hardware side either, preferring Apple’s engineering. So I’ve never felt conflicted about which product to get, Apple’s hardware and software across desktop and mobile platforms have seemed lightyears ahead of the competition for my needs.
Until last week.
The Microsoft Surface
The Microsoft Surface looks like the future. It’s thin. It’s sleek. It’s a tablet when you want it to be, and a full computer when you want it to be. You can stick it in your backpack and use it while walking, or you can hook it up to a monitor and keyboard for a full-fledged computing experience.
At first, the kickstand seemed gimmicky, as most kickstands are. The keyboard cover looks like an excellent idea, though that may chance when actual users get a chance to use it. But if Microsoft can pull this off, the Surface may be one of the greatest pieces of hardware available.
Why the Software is Still Bad
The Surface will not win me over with it’s software. In fact, just trying to watch the videos on the Surface required me to install a 110MB update to Microsoft Silverlight, which then proceeded to crash in Chrome until I restarted the computer. It feels like I’m always trying to get something to work right when using Windows or other popular Microsoft products. I’m sure that’s my fault, but unfortunately for Microsoft, I’ll choose the software that works best for me, even if I may feel conflicted on what device has the best hardware.
It is premature to give the Surface much credit for innovation or desirability, since we still have not seen any real software demos, or heard any pricing estimates or availability dates. So proclamations that Microsoft has obsoleted two of my favorite devices – the iPad and the MacBook Air – are ignorant.
The Future of Computing
Will I get a Microsoft Surface? Probably not. As I mentioned above, there is much more than the hardware that keeps me happy with Apple’s line of products. But I am excited about Microsoft for the first time in a decade, which is a great sign. There are definitely things about the announced device that I hope that Apple integrates in the future, and as they say, competition breeds innovation. This is an awesome time to survey the tech world, let’s enjoy the ride.